ELCA companions in China
Who are our companions in China?
ELCA helped pay for 100 wells (which helped 100 families), in Luzhou region as part of community development project of Luzhou church. Rev. Peter Shen, Global Mission Consultant to China, is pictured with one of the mayors.
Who is the China Christian Council and what are its ministries?
The China Christian Council (CCC)
was founded 1980 as a national expression and structure of the Chinese church, the Three Self Patriotic Movement. The CCC represents all Protestant Christians in China. The church in China sees itself as post-denominational, with local congregations often bringing together Christians from very different traditions.
The CCC coordinates theological education and promotes theological education; publishes Bibles, hymn books and other Christian literature; coordinates the exchange of information among provincial councils and local churches; organizes social services; and provides for church relations with churches outside China.
More than 2,700 seminarians have completed their training in 18 seminaries; thousands of lay church workers have been trained in training centers; and 20 million Bibles have been printed and distributed. It is estimated that more than 12,000 church buildings are open for public worship in China, and that some 25,000 groups of Protestant Christians meet in private homes.
Regional Christian councils are the local expressions of the church in China. At the request of the CCC, the ELCA works with the Sichuan Christian Council
, and some of its local parishes, such as in Luzhou
. Both are active in rural and urban ministries, grassroots leadership training, health care, community development, and social ministry.What is the Amity Foundation and what are its ministries?
The Amity Foundation
is an independent church-related organization developed by Protestant Christians in China to help meet needs related to health care, social welfare, rural development, relief and rehabilitation within Chinese society. Amity has long had a major role in placing English teachers in Chinese universities. Its goal is to work in regions with fewer resources for good English teachers. Additionally, Amity cooperates with the United Bible Societies in the Amity Printing Company, with a mission and priority to serve the Christina church in China. Since 1988, more than 55 million Bibles have been printed for the Protestant and Catholic churches in China, and for export. What is the Hangzhou YMCA/YWCA and what are its ministries?
Women at the Hangzhou YWCA enjoying an English class
The Hangzhou YMCA/YWCA engages in grassroots leadership development, social activities, and health care initiatives. Both organizations have maintained strong connections with the church. English classes, music lessons, arts and crafts, and an education program for children with autism are among the key areas of work.What is the Evergreen Family Friendship Service and what are its ministries?
The Evergreen Family Friendship Service
offers community-based health care and development in Shanxi province. It seeks to improve health care in rural and urban areas through clinical care, training, community health and the introduction of appropriate resources. Other areas of focus include working among the economically disadvantaged and rural poor. Who is the Beijing International Christian Fellowship and what are its ministries?
The Beijing International Christian Fellowship
serves the expatriate and international community in China’s capital. Ministry and fellowship are in several languages, in addition to counseling services and Bible study opportunities. How do the companions in China and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America accompany one another in ministry?
Through the churchwide ELCA Global Mission unit, the ELCA relates to and is in bilateral relationship with over 80 companion churches and institutions. The ELCA Global Mission unit stewards relationships with these five companions, the China Christian Council, Amity Foundation, Hangzhou YMCA/YWCA, Evergreen Family Friendship Service, and the Beijing International Christian Fellowship. Churchwide funding
through the ELCA Global Mission Unit supports key priorities identified by the companions.
The CCC has invited the ELCA to accompany the church in Sichuan Province. Particular projects have been developed with Luzhou Church, in southeastern Sichuan. These include rural community development, health clinics, work with children with cerebral palsy, neonatal infant care, grassroots church worker training, and theological education.
The rolling hills and Great Wall of China
The May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan provided for an opportunity for Luzhou Church to extend its expertise to provide critical disaster relief. The ELCA, together with Taiwan Lutheran Church, has accompanied the church in Sichuan in assisting in the relief efforts and is committed to ongoing rebuilding and rehabilitation of churches and communities.
The church in Luzhou city responded to a disaster appeal for U.S. Midwest floods in 2008 by offering a financial gift. The gift of showing care and concern, and many prayers are ways in which the church in China accompanies the ELCA.
The ELCA has long related to the Amity Foundation by participating in three projects: the English Teachers program, which places teachers in various universities throughout the country; the Amity Rehabilitation Project, which assists children who have contracted polio; and the Drinking Water Project in Henan Province, near the area where ELCA predecessor missionaries lived and worked from 1890 through 1949.
The ELCA also works with Evergreen in community health and the Beijing International Christian Fellowship in outreach among international persons.
The ELCA also funds significant work through the Lutheran World Federation. The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is a global communion of 140 churches (including the ELCA) and 68 million people that is grounded in a common Lutheran faith. The LWF provides space for Lutherans from around the world to share joys, challenges, and expertise as they seek the healing of the world. ELCA World Hunger funds help support the Department for World Service (DWS), the LWF’s relief and development arm, and the Department for Mission and Development (DMD), which focuses on holistic ministries through which churches participate in God’s mission to all creation.
Though there are no Lutheran churches in China, ELCA funds help support initiatives through LWF, such as:
- Coordination of Mekong Mission Initiatives
- Leadership and training events
ELCA funds also support Church World Service (CWS), which works in China. Supported by 36 denominations, including the ELCA, CWS is a U.S.-based ecumenical organization that works with partners to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world. ELCA World Hunger funds help support CWS initiatives. With CWS support, long-time companion the Amity Foundation is assisting 20,000 families affected by the May 2008 earthquake, with non-food items and psychosocial care, construction of 500 houses, two primary schools, and five village clinics, and repair of 20 water systems.
China: the context which the church and Christians serve
Although still a one-party, Communist state, China’s opening toward the world was dramatic following Mao’s death and the formalization of relationships with the US in 1979. Almost 1.3 billion people live in China. They speak numerous languages. Mandarin Chinese is the official language. While the country is officially atheist, the four prominent religions are Taoism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity (1-3 %).
Foreign investment and loan assistance programs are helping China to have perhaps the highest GDP growth rates in the region. Recent predictions gave it a 9% growth rate. China has established trading relationships with the US and Japan and is constructing free enterprise zones. Modernization through upgrading its railway system and the construction of the world’s largest public works project, Three Gorges Dam (scheduled to be completed by 2009) along with modernization of its military is in progress.
Balancing modernization with such environmental concerns as air and water pollution, water shortages, desertification, acid rain, deforestation and loss of agricultural land is a difficult problem for China.
For more information on China, type "China" into an online search engine or visit these links: